Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Panos Shiakolas


Robotics research in virtual simulation has the advantage of reduced testing time, verification of algorithms on different systems before implementation, and cost-saving. Today’s simulation softwares are capable of providing the physics of the simulation such as torque requirements of the joints which aid in the selection of appropriate hardware. In this research, Webots, an open-source physics-based simulation, and visualization software is evaluated and then used to study and evaluate the performance of two robotic systems for a robotic assistive environment for persons with upper limb disabilities. This includes a wheelchair, a table with objects, and two robotic arms attached to the wheelchair. The two arms are a custom-developed 4-degrees of freedom arm and a UR5e arm from Universal Robotics. This assistive environment also includes three cameras to identify objects to be manipulated with object geometry and grasping specific information defined and extracted from a metadata file. The motion controller code is written in MATLAB using the Robotics Systems Toolbox. An algorithm that accepts keyboard input to execute the desired motion has been developed. The environment allowed us to successfully study multiple scenarios for interaction and object grasping and provided the tools for visualization as well as detailed information and characteristics of the motion including the occurrence of collisions. After verifying the performance in simulation, the inverse-kinematics solution was stored for later analysis. The goal of using these virtual tools is to reduce the testing and analysis time for robotics projects and fine-tune them before implementation. The success of this research provides the confidence to implement the environment in the research lab.


Human-robot interaction, HRI, Virtual simulation


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington